Bacopa Monnieri helps repair neural networks

Bacopa Monnieri

David Tomen
Author:
David Tomen
10 minute read
Bacopa Monnieri has been shown to boost memory and cognition, improve mood, and reduce stress.

Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi) is a perennial, creeping, aquatic herb. Originally from the wetlands of India, and other southeastern Asian countries.

Bacopa, also known as water hyssop, is often referred to as “Brahmi”. Named after the supreme god Brahma.

The nootropic benefits of Bacopa Monnieri were first revealed in ancient Ayurvedic texts. In was recommended to devotees to help memorize long passages of text. And enhance cognition.

And Bacopa Monnieri is an adaptogen. It helps prevent the chemical and physical effects of stress. Instead of just suppressing them like many modern antidepressants.

Bacopa Monnieri helps:

  • Neurotransmitters. Bacopa affects brain levels of acetylcholine which is important for memory and cognition.
  • Cognition. Bacopa has antioxidant effects which enhances cognitive function. Bacopa extract helps prevent arterial plaque that can lead to heart attack, stroke and other neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Anxiety and stress. Bacopa has a significant anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect. It appears to modulate brain levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This has an effect on mood regulation.

Overview

Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi) is an aquatic herb originally found in the wetlands and marshy areas of Southeast Asia and India.

Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa, also known as water hyssop, is often referred to as “Brahmi”. Named after the supreme god Brahma.

Ancient Ayurvedic texts talked about Bacopa. It was recommended to devotees to help memorize long passages of text.

In the West, Bacopa Monnieri is often used to reduce anxiety, depression and stress. But it’s gaining popularity in the nootropic community as a powerful memory and cognition booster.

The active compound Bacoside A in Bacopa easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.

How does Bacopa Monnieri Work in the Brain?

Bacopa Monnieri boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

  1. Bacopa Monnieri boosts memory. Bacopa’s two active components are bacosides A and B. They improve the signaling of electrical impulses between neurons in your brain. Bacosides also help rebuild damaged neurons.

Bacopa Monnieri helps you learn and remember things more easily. In one study, researchers gave 54 volunteers in Portland, Oregon 300 mg of B. Monnieri per day for 12 weeks.

After the 12-week study, the people taking Bacopa had:

  • Better word recall
  • Better attention
  • Better memory scoresBacopa Monnieri better memory
  • A greater ability to focus while learning
  • Less anxiety and lower heart rates[i]
  1. Bacopa Monnieri reduces stress. Bacopa has traditionally been used in Ayurveda as a tonic for the nervous system. It helps to reduce anxiety.

Research at Banaras Hindu University in India showed Bacopa as effective for anxiety as the benzodiazepine drug lorazepam. One of the side effects of lorazepam is memory loss. Bacopa Monnieri on the other hand, reduced anxiety while boosting cognition.[ii]

How things go bad

Chronic stress and cortisol can damage your brain. Neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, found that chronic stress triggers long-term change in brain structure and function.[iii]

Chronic stress damages neural networks. Certain proteins are over-expressed damaging neurons as a result.

Toxins invade cells, hijacking their normal, healthy function. And oxidative damage by free radicals harm brain cells if they’re not removed.

↓ Chronic stress reduces memory capacityBacopa Monnieri helps chronic stress

↓ Toxins kill brain cells from the inside

↓ Free radicals destroy neurons and synapses

Under conditions of chronic stress your brain loses the capacity to transmit signals between neurons efficiently. Memory, cognition, and decision-making all suffer as a result.

Bacopa Monnieri benefits

Bacopa Monnieri undoes damage to the brain caused by chronic stress. And helps keep it healthy. This is a little complicated, so stay with me here.

Your brain is protected by heat-shock protein 70 (Hsp70), cytochrome enzymes EROD and PROD, and superoxide dismutase (SOD).

Hsp70 helps proteins in cells retain normal structure so they remain functional. EROD (7-ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase) and PROD (7-pentoxyresorufin-O-dealkylase) are detox enzymes. They protect your brain by converting bad toxins into less harmful compounds. And SOD battles destructive free radicals called superoxides. And converts them into harmless organic compounds.

Bacopa Monnieri Keeps Your Brain Healthy Under Stress

When you are under stress, levels of Hsp70 increase in all regions of your brain. But research shows that animals pretreated with Bacopa for 7 days prevented most of this increase in Hsp70. Particularly in areas of the brain responsible for memory.Bacopa Monnieri to the rescue

This means that producing less Hsp70 under stress, Bacopa makes your brain less susceptible to stress. Bacopa kept those regions of the brain in a non-stressed state. Even in the presence of stress.

Bacopa also has a preemptive action on EROD and PROD. Rats treated with Bacopa, but not under stress, saw an increase in these two enzymes.  Suggesting that Bacopa helps stockpile these protective enzymes to help you better deal with stress.

And when it comes to SOD, researchers said, “Bacopa helps in coping with the combined hypoxic, hypothermic, and immobilization stress, which could lead to an onslaught of free radicals.” So Bacopa helps SOD activity and prepares cells to weather attacks by free radicals.[iv]

Translated, this all means Bacopa Monnieri helps your brain deal with stress. And helps boost memory.

Bacopa Monnieri helps repair neural networks

How does Bacopa Monnieri feel?

The effects of Bacopa are not felt immediately. But seem to build over time. Some users report a pronounced anti-anxiety effect within 2 – 4 days of supplementing with Bacopa.

In one study done in Australia, results were measured at 5 and 12 weeks of taking Bacopa. The results showed improved speed of information processing, and an increase in learning and memory. Maximum reduction in anxiety was realized after 12 weeks of use.[v]

Some neurohackers say they feel the effects of Bacopa Monnieri sooner than 4 weeks. And the effects seem to keep working even after stopping supplementation. The effects are long-term.

Long term users say they consistently feel calmer, can think quicker and have better memory.

Bacopa Monnieri for longevity

Bacopa Monnieri Clinical Research

Bacopa Monnieri as a Nootropic

This double-blind placebo-controlled investigation was done at Swinburne University in Australia. 107 healthy participants were given 300 mg of Bacopa Monnieri extract for 90 days.

After 90 days, the people who took B. Monnieri extract showed significant improvement in spatial memory, memory accuracy and their ability to process visual information.[vi]

Bacopa Monnieri for Stress Reduction

Bacopa is likely best known for reducing stress. Recent research at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia confirmed this in the lab.

In this double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study 17 healthy volunteers were given 320 mg or 640 mg of Bacopa extract. The study reported significant mood improvement, and decreased levels of cortisol.

This study demonstrated Bacopa’s adaptogenic qualities. Bacopa Monnieri counteracted the effects of stress by regulating hormones involved in the stress response.[vii]

Bacopa Monnieri for Longevity

Long-term exposure to aluminum can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by 60 percent.[viii] (So check your underarm deodorant label before you read the rest of this article).

Research shows that Bacopa Monnieri can protect you from toxins that are harmful to your brain. Including aluminum.

It prevents the buildup of toxins between and inside neurons. And prevents damage to the hippocampus. The area of your brain critical for learning, memory and cognitive power.

Scientists at Jawaharlal Nehru University in India laced rats’ drinking water with aluminum chloride. The same aluminum that’s toxic to your brain. Some of the rats in this study had the protective power of Bacopa Monnieri going for them.

Bacopa Monnieri protected the rat’s brains from oxidative damage from the aluminum. And it worked as well as the Alzheimer’s drug selegiline. Bacopa restored the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) to levels near normal. Indicating Bacopa Monnieri’s anti-aging potential.[ix]

Bacopa Monnieri dosage notes

Bacopa Monnieri Recommended Dosage

There is no ‘right’ dosage of Bacopa. Each person’s body is unique. In general, use the lowest dosage that works for you. And Bacopa works better if taken a few days in a row rather than just once.

Recommended dosage of Bacopa Monnieri containing 45% bacosides is 200 – 450 mg per day.

Recommended dosage of Bacopa Monnieri containing 20% bacosides is 750 mg per day.

Higher dosing should be divided equally with your first dose in the morning, and next dose early afternoon.

Bacopa is fat-soluble so should be taken with a healthy fat source like organic, cold-pressed virgin olive or coconut oil. Fat helps your body absorb the compounds in Bacopa that bring you benefit. And helps deliver it into your brain cells.

Bacopa Monnieri Side Effects

Side effects for Bacopa Monnieri are rare when taken as directed. But can include fatigue and upset stomach.

Types of Bacopa Monnieri to buy

The bioactive component of Bacopa Monnieri is Bacoside A. Which is a mixture of saponins with bacoside A3, bacopaside II, and jujubogenin isomer of bacopasaponin C.

Bacopa Monnieri extract can be found in some of higher quality pre-formulated nootropic stacks. For example, Mind Lab Pro® contains 11 brain enhancing nootropic compounds including Bacopa Monnieri extract with 24% bacosides and all the bioactive saponins and isomers listed above.

I recommend Mind Lab Pro because it addresses all aspects of anxiety resistance, memory and cognitive enhancement, stabilizes mood, brain repair, and maintenance.

This premium nootropic stack is designed to affect neurotransmitters, cognitive energy, brain waves, neuroprotection, and regeneration. See my Mind Lab Pro 4.0 review for a detailed report.

Bacopa supplements are also available as a powder, capsules and tablets. Check the label for the concentration of Bacosides. A Bacopa extract with a higher Bacoside concentration requires a lower dose.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

Bacopa Monnieri up to 450 mg per day

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedI recommend using Bacopa Monnieri as a nootropic supplement.

Your body does not make Bacopa Monnieri on its own. So you must take it as a supplement.

B. Monnieri is especially helpful for those suffering from anxiety and stress. Studies show it helps stop and reverse the devastating effects of stress on your brain, and body. This nootropic helps repair damage to neurons and synapses caused by chronic stress.

Bacopa is a powerful adaptogen. Which means it helps increase the effect of certain hormones when activity is low. And will block excess stimulation when activity is high.

Bacopa Monnieri is also helpful for those suffering from anxiety and panic disorders. A study published in Phytomedicine showed the calming effect of this herb was equal to the drug Ativan (lorazepam). Without the side effects.

The ancient Ayurvedic texts knew what we’re only now discovering. That Bacopa is a powerful memory enhancer. Recent studies in Australia and the USA show B. Monnieri helps improve word recall, memory scores, attention and learning.

You can buy individual Bacopa Monnieri supplements. Or you could try my favorite pre-formulated nootropic stack Mind Lab Pro® which includes the full spectrum saponins, bacosides, and isomers in its Bacopa Monnieri extract.

Mind Lab Pro contains a synergistic blend of 11 brain enhancing nootropics covering all aspects of cognition and brain health. See my full Mind Lab Pro 4.0 review for more.

You can safely take up to 450 mg of Bacopa Monnieri extract (45% Bacosides) daily if needed. Half the dose first thing in the morning. And the other half early afternoon. And it’s fat-soluble. So to ensure absorption take it with a tablespoon of virgin coconut or MCT oil.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[i] Calabrese N.D., Gregory W.L., Leo M., Kraemer D., Bone K., Oken B. “Effects of a Standardized Bacopa monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression in the Elderly: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial” Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine 2008 Jul; 14(6): 707–713. (source)

[ii] Bhattacharya S.K., Ghosal S. “Anxiolytic activity of a standardized extract of Bacopa monniera: an experimental study.” Phytomedicine. 1998 Apr;5(2):77-82 (source)

[iii] “New evidence that chronic stress predisposes brain to mental illness” University of California, Berkeley Feb. 11, 2014, Retrieved Mar. 24, 2016 (source)

[iv] Chowdhuri D.K., Parmar D., Kakkar P., Shukla R., Seth P.K., Srimal R.C. “Antistress effects of bacosides of Bacopa monnieri: modulation of Hsp70 expression, superoxide dismutase and cytochrome P450 activity in rat brain.” Phytotherapy Research 2002 Nov;16(7):639-45. (source)

[v] Stough C., Lloyd J., Clarke J., Downey L.A., Hutchison C.W., Rodgers T., Nathan P.J. “The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects.”Psychopharmacology 2001 Aug;156(4):481-4. (source)

[vi] Stough C., Downey L.A., Lloyd J., Silber B., Redman S., Hutchison C., Wesnes K., Nathan P.J. “Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial.” Phytotherapy Research 2008 Dec;22(12):1629-34 (source)

[vii] Benson S., Downey L.A., Stough C., Wetherell M., Zangara A., Scholey A. “An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study of 320 mg and 640 mg doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on multitasking stress reactivity and mood.” Phytotherapy Research 2014 Apr;28(4):551-9. (source)

[viii] Jansson E.T. “Aluminum exposure and Alzheimer’s disease.”Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2001 Dec;3(6):541-549. (source)

[ix] Jyoti A., Sharma D. “Neuroprotective role of Bacopa monniera extract against aluminium-induced oxidative stress in the hippocampus of rat brain.” Neurotoxicity 2006 Jul;27(4):451-7. (source)

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Join The Discussion - 260 comments

Abhishek Gope
January 20, 2019

Hi , I was diagnosed with Obsessive compulsive disorder and was on SSRI . I have improved a lot with SSRI ( currently Escitalopram 5 mg every alternate day ) and healthy lifestyle . I have recently started taking Bacopa supplement . I take them twice daily . I feel better but sometimes I suffer from mental sluggishness . Can I take piracetam and citicoline supplement ?

Secondly I want to know how long should a supplement be used ?

    David Tomen
    January 21, 2019

    Abhishek, Bacopa, piracetam and citicoline can be used for life as long as you are following recommended dosage instructions. Escitalopram (Lexapro) is a true SSRI so affects serotonin in your brain. Bacopa also seems to affect serotonin but acts more like an adagtogen than a SSRI. But using both together may be contributing to your feelings of sluggishness.

    I’m not aware of any contraindication with Piracetam and Citicoline with SSRI’s so you should be OK.

Katherine
October 7, 2018

Hello, I don’t understand when you mention to take bacopa with coconut oil or virgin olive oil, how would I do that? Can I just take bacopa after a breakfast of eggs and maybe milk (if eggs only aren’t enough) with it instead?

    David Tomen
    October 7, 2018

    Katherine, yes you could take Bacopa with eggs or milk because you are getting the ‘healthy’ fats needed to help with absorption.

Julie
September 6, 2018

Can Bacopa Monnieri be safely taken along with St. John’s Wort and L-5HTP?

    David Tomen
    September 7, 2018

    Julie, I’m not aware of a problem with adding Bacopa Monnieri. But would be very careful about using St. John’s wort with 5-HTP. Because 5-HTP is synthesized to made serotonin and St. John’s wort boosts serotonin. A little too much and you are in danger of Serotonin Syndrome.

Eduardo
June 14, 2018

Hi David,

Lately, I’ve been struggling with moderate social anxiety and I even had a few panick attacks. For that matter, would you rather use Bacopa or Ashwaganda? I’ll use one of these with panax ginseng , ginkgo biloba, DHA and a multivitamin.

With this stack do you think I could get rid of my anxiety?Oh, Im also looking for cognitive enhancement and more focus.

Thank you. Your work on this website is inspiring.

    David Tomen
    June 15, 2018

    Eduardo, did you see my post on treating social anxiety here? https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-social-anxiety/

    Everyone reacts in different ways to nootropics. Try Bacopa and see if it works for you. Then try Ashwagandha and see if it is better or worse than Bacopa. That is the only way to find out for sure.

    Taming anxiety will go a long way toward cognitive enhancement and better focus. Once you have anxiety under control, then consider tweaking your stack for cognition and focus.

justin rinehart
April 4, 2018

Thanks for the article. I decided to try this supplement and bought my first bottle , yet it doesn’t mention the word bacides anywhere, is simply says
BACOPINOPA MONNIERA (POWDER)extract
100 Mg

BACOPA MONNIERA – (POWDER)(LEAVES)
345 M

What do you feel the best dosage is for this ?

Thanks again for all your hard work.

    David Tomen
    April 4, 2018

    Justin, there’s not really a recommended dose for Bacopa. It really depends on the strength of the product and how you react to it. Try the manufacturer’s recommended dose on the bottle. But make sure you take it with a high quality fat like unrefined coconut or MCT Oil. Because Bacopa is fat-soluble and your body needs the fat to absorb it into your cells.

Jason
November 27, 2017

Hi there,
My father suffered a intermediate brain injury and has some resulting anger issues and becomes stressed very easily. Could Bacopa help with his anger issues? If not,do you have a recommendation?

    David Tomen
    November 27, 2017

    Jason, it’s possible your father could get some benefit with Bacopa. But first, please see this post I wrote on dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury here > https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-traumatic-brain-injury/.

    Towards the bottom of that article is a suggested nootropic stack for TBI. A full-blown nootropic stack for your father in this case may be too much to ask at first. So I recommend starting with one or two and see how he reacts.

    My first suggestion is Lithium Orotate. This is an amazing supplement and I’ve found it really helps dampen irritability and anger issues. https://nootropicsexpert.com/lithium-orotate/.

    Also check out Pine Bark Extract and the B-Vitamins on that list. Without extensive testing it’s difficult to tell exactly what’s going on. But excess glutamate is an educated guess. These will get you started and hopefully bring some relief.

      Michael cooke
      February 14, 2018

      Hi David how much Bacopa Monnieri should I take in powdered form? It says 2-6g per day on the packet.

        David Tomen
        February 14, 2018

        Michael, you didn’t mention if this Bacopa powder is an extract or straight Bacopa. My research is for extracts with a specific amount of bacosides. If this is pure powder follow the dosage instructions on the packet at the lowest dosage suggested by the manufacturer and see how your body reacts. But you will need a scale to measure the correct amount. You are looking for a scale like this one > http://amzn.to/2svqcds

Juliana
September 6, 2017

M. Tomen, (sorry for my english mistakes, it is not my first language)

I was a super brilliant girl (school was to easy for me), but different things happened that has weeked my capacities. I always had a ADD, but I did not need to listen at school to understand so I was ok without even a diagnosis. The problems biggan on the work force because of my distractions. At 25 I had an head trauma, I noticed a little decrease of memory, but I succeed at university. The worst impact was that at 35 I took Imovane for years to sleep. It is a chimical medication. After that I noticed a bigger lost of memory, much worse than the effect of head trauma, and I learned after those years that it is proven, it is dangerous for memory… Not surprising that I am so interested about nootropics !!!

I would like to try the bacopa monnieri, but for now I am taking antidepressants (Wellbutrin). Can I take both at the same time ? If not I could stop that antidepressants slowly and take natural things… Do you think bacopa monnieri would be a goog choice for me ? Can I take others nootropics at the same time ? I read alot but I did not find the info…

Thank you so much for your work, it is really precious.

    David Tomen
    September 7, 2017

    Juliana, your English is fine. From your question it sounds like your priorities are addressing traumatic brain injury (TBI) and ADD. Please do not discount TBI because any kind of brain injury can cause real problems for life if you don’t take care of it. Please read this post about TBI here > https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-traumatic-brain-injury/.

    For Adult ADD please read this post > https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-adhd-add/.

    Both articles talk about nootropics that will help with memory as well. You’ll have to read the full review of each individual nootropic for more. I suggest searching for and reading everything you can about memory here Nootropics Expert. Particularly sections specifically about boosting memory. This post on learning and memory explains how memory works. And has suggestions on boosting memory > https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-learning-and-memory/.

    You’ll find that many nootropics on Nootropics Expert help several different brain functions. Bacopa is a good example because it helps memory AND cerebral blood flow or circulation. Bacopa may be a good choice for you but please use it with caution. Try a low dose and see how you react. There have been reports of hypomania when combining Bacopa with other SSRI’s like Prozac. We just don’t know how it will react with Wellbutrin.

Dominik Klingshirn
March 28, 2017

So I bought some BaCognize from nootropicdepot.com
After purchased I realized the extract is standardized to 12.5% bacosides glycosides.
Does that mean I should take around 1250mg a day?

    David Tomen
    March 30, 2017

    Good question Dominik. I recommend staying with the manufacturers “Safety & Dosage” guidelines here > http://www.bacognize.com/research—news.html. Start at the low end and see how you react. And go from there. Your are affecting serotonin in your brain which. So be careful.

      vipul dalvi
      December 15, 2020

      sir i am diagnosed with synaptic damage and low levels of serotonin and anxiety….doctor prescribed me with anti anxiety and ssri….then what nootropics i have to used to alleviate this symptoms …

        David Tomen
        December 15, 2020

        Vipul, already answered part of your question. But damaged synapses can be repaired by using natural nootropics that repair synapses. Look for any natural supplement proven to help synapse repair while avoiding raising serotonin or GABA. Ashwagandha is one option for synapse repair.

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